Who started Leader in Me?

Author: Leader in Me
May 4, 2021

Leader in Me was originally developed by a principal and teachers who wanted to teach their students life skills such as leadership, responsibility, accountability, problem solving, adaptability, effective communication, and more.

Specifically, in an effort to turn around her failing school, Muriel Summers, principal of A.B. Combs Leadership Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina, identified leadership as her new magnet theme based on community feedback. She decided to utilize Baldridge quality tools, FranklinCovey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and several other educational best practices in designing, developing, and implementing a leadership model for her school.

Within a few years, A.B. Combs experienced what they viewed as a significant turnaround, and was named the #1 Magnet School in America. The school reported improved academic achievement, increased enrollment, soaring parent and teacher satisfaction, and higher levels of student self-confidence. Several other schools across the country took note, replicated Summers’ leadership model and, like A.B. Combs, achieved similar dramatic improvements.

Based on demand from Summers and other principals and teachers who had observed or heard about A.B. Combs’ success, FranklinCovey codified Summers’ process, creating The Leader in Me so that other schools could implement the leadership model and achieve similar results.

On May 16, 2014, A.B. Combs Leadership Magnet Elementary was named the #1 Magnet School in America for a second time. It is the only school to achieve this award twice, having first received the award in 2006. This award for excellence is given annually to the nation’s top magnet school based on a school’s demonstrated ability to:

  • Raise student academic achievement.
  • Promote racial and socioeconomic diversity.
  • Provide integrated curricula and instruction.
  • Create partnerships that enhance the school’s theme.

Since its official launch, over 2,500 public, private, charter, and magnet schools across 35 countries have adopted The Leader in Me. Educators continue to offer feedback on best practices, which provides the basis for continuous improvement and refinement of the process.

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